The lifeblood of any VC is its deal flow, and what sets apart the leaders from the pack, the best from the average, is 'proprietary deal flow'... that is, deals only that VC can get to, or get to first, or get to on the best terms*.
Of course, as we all know, every VC is amongst the best and none of them are mediocre (or heaven forbid, below average), so just like 'value add' - which I'll touch on in a future blog - every VC has its own, fabulous, proprietary deal flow. Our secret sauce is not so secret. We've been in the games industry for an average of 20 years - making games, marketing games, financing games, funding games companies, growing games companies, buying & selling games companies. We are privileged to have been involved in some of the biggest, most loved (and most successful) games franchises ever, and lucky enough to have worked with many of the games industry's most creative, entrepreneurial, passionate and insightful teams. No surprise then that we're pretty plugged into the scene and get to know what's happening from an investment perspective somewhat earlier than more generalist VCs (and, I'd immodestly suggest, with a somewhat more informed analysis and assessment).
In late 2012 LVP, along with legendary Finnish investor Jari Ovaskainen, led a seed round in a very exciting startup with an incredible character IP pedigree but no previous experience running their own company. Now, almost exactly 18 months down the line, Boomlagoon has transformed itself - no longer "just" developers, Boomlagoon has successfully navigated itself to become a fully-fledged character IP games business. We're thrilled to have joined them on this journey, and very happy to be participating in their $3.6M series A, along with our friends at Northzone, Inventure and 360 Capital Partners.
So, with this in mind how in mid-2012 did we find Boomlagoon, the startup formed by 3 ex-Rovio superstars, including the character IP creator supremo Tuomas "Angry Birds" Erikoinen?
Extremely complex, in-depth and deeply proprietary deal flow, of course. Certainly not through just reading this article on CNN then giving Antti, Illka and Tuomas a call, no, certainly not...
*As an aside, a company called BrightSun is using fantastically sophisticated, quant-derived algorithmics to help VCs and others track and analyse oceans of imprecise data to help sift, sort and make sense of the incredibly complex and volatile startup world. [disclosure: I am a personal investor in BrightSun... they're obviously not a games related company, so they don't fit LVP's remit, but I loved their ideas so much I had to support them.]